Despite the efforts of a good manager, there are times when an employee’s performance falls below the acceptable line.

When this happens it is important to address the issue sooner than later. Based on personal experience, I can tell you that this is true.  I have waited too long and it just makes the situation harder to address and correct.

Just trying to encourage an employee to do a better job rarely fixes any problems that may exist.

Managers need to find out what the problem is and why the employee lacks the understanding of what their job performance should be. Once this is accomplished the manager can began to help the employee get back on track.

There are four main steps to take when addressing an employee’s inadequate performance. It is important that you set up a time to talk to the employee in private and let them know that you want to discuss their job performance.

Make sure you have everything you will need to address these four points written down so you can stick to the facts and not be distracted.

1. Define to the employee what acceptable performance at work is and looks like. Make sure you are clear on all aspects of their position. Give examples and ask open-ended questions so you can make sure the employee understands what you are saying. Ask them to give you examples of what acceptable performance in their position would be.

2. Tell the employee what you have observed in their performance that is unacceptable. Be detailed so that they know exactly what they should not be doing. Do not say things like “I don’t like the way you handle customers over the phone.” That statement tells them nothing of their performance. Describe to them what it is about the way they talk to customers that is unacceptable. Remember details, facts and examples.

3. Set goals and establish an action plan for the employee to learn and improve their skills. Let the employee make up the plan with you.  In this way if they do not accomplish their goals, it was what they set and agreed to accomplish.

4. At the end of the meeting set up a follow-up meeting to check on their progress. By setting the follow-up meeting time the employee knows how much time they have been given to make improvements.

What other ways have you heard of handling inadequate employee performance?